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April 20th 2013 Showjumping Competition With Finola
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   2nd May 2013   •   3,325 views   •   2 comments
The weekend of April 20th saw my official showjumping debut for 2013. Since the South African Junior Championships in December, my horses were given a well deserved holiday, before slowly building back up to competition standard.

Finola already had one jumping show under her belt, and both she and Bronze had attended their first event of the year, but even with a foot on the ladder, this was the show to start the climb back up the grades.

I had Finola entered 1,20m and Bronze entered 1m, easing back into competition after the time off, and I have to say that I feel both horses performed exceptionally well. Usually, after a break, Finola gets careless in her jump, and Bronze looses so much confidence that we usually have to take him back to square one; so imagine my surprise when I rode into the ring to feel a keen and fearless horse beneath me.

Now Finola’s problems are quite the opposite of Bronze’s; she’ll jump anything without so much as a glance, but when it comes to respecting the poles and jumping clear, I think she’d rather be galloping around a racetrack. Especially after her holiday, it’s been a struggle to get her physical jump big and powerful again, but with endless amounts of grid work and bascule poles, we finally started making some progress before the show.

Her obedience, too, has been improving with more demanding schooling sessions, and when it came to the show, I was pleased to find that she was being rideable and relatively willing, if not perfectly obedient. Finola will never be a push button horse, and I would never want that from her, so the fact that she was willing to work together with me, if not perfectly obey all my instructions, was definitely a victory in itself.

In the warm up, Finola’s jumps were flat, but I intentionally placed her close to try and get her using herself, and though she tapped poles, she didn't take any. After sneakily popping her over a few bigger uprights at angles to wake her up and get her picking up her toes, I took Nola in for her class.

Showjumping Competition With Finola

Her first round was, dare I say it, actually pretty good. There was no bucking, no fly leaping, and no sideways crab steps. Some of her jumps were clean and springy, whilst others were a little flat, but overall it was a good, neat round. She was confident and obedient, and most importantly, she had fun. We finished with a clear, which of course left me to once again plan a jump off track. I didn't intend to chase the win, because although Finola’s speed is a force to be reckoned with, I didn't want her getting careless and having a pole. So since there were lots of fast clears already, I decided that my best option would be a steady clear.

As it turns out, I had forgotten one thing: my plans don’t apply to Finola.
After watching the horse before her race into the lead with a speedy clear, Finola was going to take that jump off fast whether I was with her or not. Since I knew that fighting her would earn me even more poles than the speed might, I decided to go for it.

Showjumping Competition With Finola

I have to say, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of speeding around a jump off with you and your horse both focused on the same goal: Chasing the time, and finishing with a first place to show for it. When it comes to Finola and I, jump offs have always been our forte, and on this day, it showed. Although she could have jumped cleaner, Nola kept her feet out of the way, and cruised easily through tight corners and tricky angles to finally finish with a gallop into the last triple bar. Shockingly, she jumped clear despite the speed, and finished with a first place.

In the second class, I wasn't expecting much. Nola was riled up from the jump off of the previous class, and I knew that she was bound to be careless. And she was careless, because once Finola’s adrenaline is pumping, her focus goes out the window – but despite her flat jumps, that brilliant little mare picked up her feet just enough, and bounced and fly-leaped her way to another first place. To see that horse so keen and having so much fun again – not to mention working with me instead of fighting against me – really was a treat. With her jumping so flat and carelessly at the beginning of the year, I was starting to think that Finola’s best days were behind her, but bless her little heart, she still pulled out all the stops and came through for me yet again. Now it’s onwards and upwards, to take on the 1,30m tracks again and see – if she still has the strength and the will – if we can’t even move on up a little higher.

Showjumping Competition With Finola

Showjumping Competition With Finola

Showjumping Competition With Finola

Showjumping Competition With Finola

Showjumping Competition With Finola

Showjumping Competition With Finola
Horse News More PB Articles About:  Polo The Weirdo,
Horse News More In This Category:  Shows and Events      Horse News More From This Author:  Polo the Weirdo
Dreamer100  
Such a good show. Congratulations :) And a good article very enjoyable to read and wonderfully amazing pictures. Thank you so much for posting. looking forward to hearing more soon.
  May 3, 2013  •  3,771 views
 
G o o s e  
Great job on the show! I mean two first places? I don't know if I ever will be able to do that. (:
  May 29, 2013  •  3,520 views
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